On behalf of Batesville Main Street, design committee chair Brian Haakinson asked Batesville City Council members June 10 to consider a $3,000 request from the Belterra Fund to help with the cost of an art alley guitar bench/sculpture.

"As was reported in The Herald-Tribune in April, Batesville Main Street was awarded a Quick Impact Placebased Grant of $5,000 from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs for a downtown art initiative," he reported.

In addition, "$2,500 in seed money was given by the John A. Hillenbrand Foundation, $1,000 from the Batesville Area Arts Council and over $600 from a private donor to begin to transform the alley between Randy's Roadhouse and S&B Driving School with a colorful music-themed mural."

Creating the artwork would be a local effort with art teachers and students "participating in all phases of design and implementation of the project ... Our timeline is to complete this first phase and possibly the second phase of the alley by the week of Oct. 7, which is Downtown Development Week through OCRA."

Phase 2 involves "installing a custom guitar-themed sculpture/bench made by local artist and metal sculptor Chaz Kaiser. We feel this design ... will add an impressive one-of-a kind component to this alley," Haakinson noted.

"The bench will be comprised of both wood and metal. Chaz will collaborate with the other lead artists on this project to decide placement and colors of this unique architectural design element to ensure that both artistic elements work well together in the space."

"Many rural communities have embraced public art as a strategy for economic vitality. Art installations in many mediums and alley activations are transformative for downtowns, creating vibrant gathering spaces. This alley activation represents the first such project for Batesville Main Street."

"The total cost for the guitar bench is $5,000, and we have $2,400 available to use from QuIP money and matching funds. The $3,000 we are seeking would make up the difference and allow for some money to be set aside for any future maintenance of the bench."

Members unanimously agreed to fund the project.

Member Jim Fritsch also had an idea for the group to consider.

He suggested moving the pergola at the downtown bike park to the northside park under construction and then put either a 12-by-20-foot or 12-by-30-foot gazebo in its place downtown, which would provide some shade.

"I want to dedicate it to the first responders, police officers, emergency crews and firefighters .... I would like to get Belterra funds to pay for it.

"I just wanted to throw it out to you and see what you think about it."

Member Darrick Cox said, "I like the idea of having some area of shade .... It could draw people downtown."

Member John Irrgang added, "I like the idea of recognizing first responders ... but when I think of shade, I think of trees."

"Have you discussed this with any of the local businesses down there?" member Tracy Rohlfing wondered.

Fritsch said, "Not yet, but it would be nice to get some feedback."

Rohlfing announced, "Maybe Main Street can talk about it."

This will be discussed further at the July 8 meeting.

Diane Raver can be contacted at diane.raver@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.

Other news

• Mayor Mike Bettice asked for a moment of silence at the council meeting's beginning for former streets commissioner Bob Hortemiller, who died June 6.

• Mayor's Youth Council members Meredith McCreary, Kendall Dickman and Landon Schwering, who recently graduated from high school, were thanked for their dedication to the organization. In addition, the group's advisers, Kim Linkel, Bill Giltz and Madison McCreary, said the total volunteer hours contributed by MYC members during the 2018-19 school year were 2,172. Members are required to volunteer in the community, and 12 went over and above to meet this requirement. They were recognized during the meeting: Meredith McCreary, 136 hours; Belle Wolters, 134.5; Brayleigh Patterson, 118.5; Tristan Rowlett, 117; Sophie Cassidy, 112; Biz Mullen, 105; Ciera Belter, 103; Ella Wolters, 87; Isabel Smith, 84.5; Ruthy Bond, 79.5; and Paige Oldham and Kendall Dickman, 77.5 each.

• Council members had the first reading of Ordinance 3-2019, which, if passed, would amend Batesville Municipal Code Chapter 95 pertaining to certain vegetation being declared a nuisance. Members were asked to look over the proposed document and bring back any suggestions for changes next month.

• Batesville Board of Works members approved a parking lot/road closure request for the Batesville Bash, which included areas around the Village Green.

• BBW members also opened two bids for summer paving projects: Globe Asphalt, Westport, $1.04 million; and Dave O'Mara Contractors, North Vernon, $1.16 million. The improvements will be paid for through the Indiana Department of Transportation Community Crossings Grant and the city's financial match. The bids were taken under advisement.

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